40 Reasons For Coming Home – Reason # 40 – God is Worthy

Reason # 40 God is Worthy – OK, so I admit that it took me a little longer to get here than I thought. I’m about a week past my deadline but blogging is tough ūüôā Now here in this 40th reason we come to the one reason that trumps all other reasons: God is worthy. It is possible for us to think in a very ego-centric way to the effect that all we ever ask is some version of “What’s in it for me?”¬† This question is not wholly inappropriate but we have to be willing to accept the answer that even if there is NOTHING in it for you, you still ought to be in God’s house every Sunday. Now, as I have tried to show in the other reasons, there is ALOT in it for you. But it remains true that our primary reason for being at Mass on Sunday is that God is worthy of our praise.

Every now and then people tell me that they don’t come to Mass because they “don’t get anything out it.” or “it is boring” to them etc. Well, truth be told, it’s not about you. Somewhere in our journey we all have to learn that world doesn’t just revolve around me and my preferences; that the job of the Church or the world isn’t just to peal me a grape and entertain me. Somewhere we have to discover that there are great things beyond my limited scope of interests and that it is possible for me to grow beyond my comfort zone. The Mass and all liturgy is about God. There is an old song that advises the following: Just forget about yourself and Concentrate on Him and worship Him. In the end, I hope you get a lot out Mass and life in the Church and I know you can and you will. But there is something very healing and freeing to remember that your life isn’t about you and the world doesn’t revolve around you. There is something sanctifying about recognizing that God is at the center, not me.

It’s a good place to conclude this 40 Reasons feature of the blog by simply stating that you and I ought to be at home in God’s house every Sunday simply because God is worthy of our time, our worship and our attention. Everything you have and are is God’s work and God’s gift. Even your sufferings are a mysterious gift from God to help perfect you. God is good and God is worthy. God’s been too good for me not to enter into the great thanksgiving (Eucharist) every Sunday. If I don’t praise him the rocks will cry out!¬† Come home to God’s house, to the Church which he founded. God deserves your presence. God is worthy of your praise.

All 40 Reasons can be viewed here: http://blog.adw.org/category/40-reasons-to-come-back-to-church/

A Pastor and His Cat Explain Suffering

Now this video is very homespun but the point Father makes is actually quite good. It is on the question of suffering and a call to humility. Now ,just like me, Father could have gotten to his point just a bit faster by skipping the part on cat vocabulary etc. but it’s still only 3 minutes so hang in there. I think the main point is excellent. Well done Fr. Jeffrey.

40 Reasons to Come Home – Reason # 39 – I’ll Hasten to His Throne

¬† Reason # 39 – I’ll Hasten to His Throne.¬† There is an Old Gospel Music classic called, “I Love the Lord.” and it is derived from an old Spiritual. The words are very moving and based on a Psalm:

I love the Lord. He heard my cry and pitied every groan. Long as I live and troubles rise, I’ll hasten to His throne.

What better advice in facing the troubles of life: hasten to God’s throne. We hasten there by prayer to be sure but also to our parish churches where Jesus Christ dwells: in the tabernacle. This is His special dwelling among us. To be sure God is everywhere but it is our Catholic belief that no presence is more real and more substantial that in the Blessed Sacrament. Nowhere will you be closer to God on earth than in your nearby Catholic parish. It is most truly his throne room, the Holy of Holies. Hasten, that is run, get there fast, hasten to God’s throne. A very fine reason to come Home.

Here is the Old Classic: “I Love the Lord” as sung by Whitney Houston.

Worldwide Church News

As I have mentioned before, the Catholic Church is a worldwide institution of over 1 billion members. There are many different Rites, religious orders, cultural diversity and concerns specific to each sector of the Church. Sometimes, we Americans get very local in our view. It helps to remember that there is a big world and a big Church out there. Here’s a sampling from Gloria TV News.

What is Distinctive About the Biblical Revelation of God?

There is much talk today about how we, despite our theological differences are all really worshipping the same God. Is that true? We might like to think that under all this diversity is really a unity but the fact is that there are some pretty radical differences in the understanding of God. So radical that I do not think we can really affirm wishful slogans like the one above. There is only one true God but many have imagined other gods who are not God, surely not God as he reveals Himself in the Bible.

Another common problem today is to presume that the Biblical insights about God are not really unique but merely borrowed from other ancient cultures. Zeitgeist the movie makes this claim. But the truth is that the Biblical tradition, while having some similarities to other things ancient, departs radically from most ancient and modern philosophies. The Biblical Revelation really IS unique and transcends many Ancient and modern errors.

Here are two videos by Fr. Robert Barron that make these points well.

40 Reasons for Coming Home – Reason # 38 – Love

Reason # 38 – Love — When you really love some one you want to be with them! A young man who loves a young woman doesn’t have to be told to ask her out, to seek to be near her. He just wants that automatically. Love craves union. And yet, to hear many people talk, people who say they love God, you’d be surprised at some of the things they say: “Do I have to go to Church?”¬†…”Do I have to go to confession?”…..”Do I have to pray? How long and how often?”¬† When a young man loves a young lady he is eager to please her. If she asks help in something he is excited to be asked. And yet when God asks us to help the poor, or his Church, or to keep his commandments rather than be eager to do so it is too easy for many to be resentful and avoidant.

Now I know that our love for God is not some sort of romantic love like the examples I gave above. But really, if I love God then I want to be with him, I want to love the people he loves (even my enemy) and I want to love what he loves (justice, mercy, chastity, and so forth). This is what true love does. Many years ago in High School I dated a young lady who loved square dancing. In my mid teens I was a rock’n’roll fan and square dancing seemed ¬†hokey! Well guess what, my girl liked it so I began to like it!¬†You see, love changes everything! I even became the treasurer for the local square dance club. Yes, love changes you. I looked forward to every Saturday night: ¬†me and my girl and a “left allemand,¬†a dosado ¬†and¬†a right-and-left-grand!”

Well now what’s all this got to do with coming home? The bottom line is this you have got to keep the home fires burning. You see, love,¬†can grow cold. The “I Do” becomes “You’d Better!&*@” And the Lord warns us about this. Remember what he said to the Church at Ephesus? I hold this against you: you have lost the love you had at first. Realize how far you have fallen. Repent, and do the works you did at first. ¬†Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lamp stand from its place, unless you repent (Rev 2:4-5)

God wants your love. Not lip service Love but a real love that finds its way to his house each Sunday, a love that means daily prayer and¬†Scripture reading. And God wants your love to mean that you begin to love what he loves. Now don’t think that just some tepid, lukewarm love is sufficient. God wants us to fan into flame the love we saywe have. Here is another warning from the Book of Revelation, this time to the Church at Laodicea: I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot.¬† So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!¬†(Rev 3:14ff) Ever try drinking cold coffee? I can’t stand the stuff, I run to the sink and spit it out. Can’t even swallow it. Well, don’ t make God run to the sink. He likes hot Coffee and hot Christians. And hot Christians are passionate about being with God on Sunday. They look forward to being with God and let his love grow hot in them through the sacraments and the ministry of the Word. Fiery Christians keep the home fires burning and are passionate about their relationship with God. Come home now. Be careful about justifying “being away” from Church. Passionate lovers seek union with the beloved. No doubt, if you Love God you’ll look forward to every Sunday with him. He’s here people, right here at home.

Here’s a well known about love and it’s capacity to change everything. If human love could make even me love Square Dancing, then God’s love can totally change you. You will begin to love what and who God loves, see like God, act like God be like God. Understand this song in a fresh spiritual way.¬†

The Art of the Fugue and a fine Organist

Hidden in many of our Choir lofts are secret virtuosos:¬†the Organists of our Church! ¬†Though they vary in their capacities it remains true that to play the organ well requires great skill. I have always had special admiration for organists who can play with both feet and hands, turn pages, switch stops and never miss a beat. Over the years I taught myself to play hymns properly with both feet and hands and it is a wonderful “full body” experience. But I could never play the wonderful fugue you are about to see, that takes a real virtuoso like the beautiful young woman in this video. Sadly her name is not listed but she plays Bach’s Fugue in D major (BWV 532).

What is a fugue you might ask? A fugue is a simple musical theme that is introduced and them elaborated upon in a somewhat mathematical fashion. Bach was surely the master of this form. Notice how our organist introduces the theme with her right hand. The left hand next begins to answer and then come the feet. A marvelous thing to behold. Music and skill, science and art.

Enjoy! Even if classical music ¬†isn’t your thing and the pipe organ is not on your playlist, just enjoy the skill and many years of training that go into the moment of this performance.

I have posted elsewhere on the theme of the organist here: http://blog.adw.org/2009/04/easter-jig/

Authority to Forgive Sins

The Gospel for this Sunday is from¬†John 20:19ff clearly shows him bestowing the authority to forgive sins to his first priests, the Apostles. He breathed on them and said, ‘Whose sins you forgive they are forgiven them. Whose sins you retain, they are retained.’¬† This passage should not be lightly set aside. According to John it is the among the very first things that Jesus did after He rose from the dead. First he says, Peace be with you. Then he commisions them: As the Father has sent me so I send you. Well the Father sent Jesus to reconcile sinners with the Father. So these sent one (Apostles) would have the same power, to reconcile sinners. It is an essential hallmark of the Church that she be able to reconcile sinners through the ministry of priests. If you’re a good Bible believeing Catholic you ought to get to confession frequently. Afterall Jesus set it up this way himself. Now don’t go an reinvent religion. Just practice what Jesus set forth. Central to the practice of the true and Biblical faith is confession.

So here are some other resources to study moreon this:

  1. I have put together a PDF flyer on the Biblical roots of Confession and you can read it here:  Confession in Biblical
  2. I preached a sermon on today’s Gospel which covers among other things the Authority to forgive sins you can listen or right click to download here: Sermon on Divine Mercy Sunday
  3. Here is a two minute Video Apologetical primer on Confession: